Although seemingly every project featuring either a zombie or an apocalypse—to say nothing of a zombie apocalypse—lands a deal on title alone, somehow one of the most promising of that unstoppable, lurching brood may have its brains splattered prematurely. Paramount’s Brad Pitt-starring adaptation of World War Z, the Max Brooks book that represented one of the cleverer spins on an increasingly tapped-out genre, is currently facing a financial crisis, with the studio balking at the film’s estimated $125 million budget. Vulture reports that executives are currently reaching out to David Ellison, part of the Oracle CEO Larry Ellison clan that—along with his more independently minded sister Megan—has quietly become one of the most influential investors in Hollywood. Without someone like Ellison cracking open the checkbook, however, the project looks increasingly imperiled, unless a bunch of ragtag kids can maybe put on a last-minute breakdancing show.
World War Z seemingly has a lot to appeal to Ellison, as in addition to a rock-solid genre premise and a commitment from Pitt, it also has Quantum Of Solace director Marc Foster—and unlike the similar imbroglio over Guillermo del Toro’s At The Mountains Of Madness at Universal, Forster has agreed to a far-less-risky PG-13 rating. Of course, judging from some of Ellison’s past passion projects (Flyboys, Mission Impossible IV, Top Gun II), they might need to stick some planes and/or Tom Cruise in there. Anyway, should Ellison or someone else fail to step up, Paramount may scrap World War Z entirely, leaving us the cold comfort of 10 to 12 other, lesser zombie apocalypse films in the next couple of years.